October 12, 2010

I’m Feeling Lucky: GoogleAnnounces Plan to Drop $5 Billion on 350-Mile Stretch of Wind Mills Offshore –$14.2 Million for Every 5,280 Feet of Installed Equipment.NY Times (10/12) reports, “Google and a New York financial firm haveeach agreed to invest heavily in a proposed $5 billion transmission backbonefor future offshore wind farms along the Atlantic Seaboard that couldultimately transform the region’s electrical map. The 350-mile underwaterspine, which could remove some critical obstacles to wind power development,has stirred excitement among investors, government officials andenvironmentalists who have been briefed on it. Industry experts called the planpromising, but warned that as a first-of-a-kind effort, it was bound to facebureaucratic delays and could run into unforeseen challenges, from technologyproblems to cost overruns. While several undersea electrical cables exist offthe Atlantic Coast already, none has ever picked up power from generators alongthe way. Generating electricity from offshore wind is far more expensive thanrelying on coal, natural gas or even onshore wind. But energy expertsanticipate a growing demand for the offshore turbines to meet staterequirements for greater reliance on local renewable energy as a cleanalternative to fossil fuels. Melinda Pierce, the deputy director for nationalcampaigns at the Sierra Club, said she had campaigned against proposedtransmission lines that would carry coal-fired energy around the country, butwould favor this one, with its promise of tapping the potential of offshorewind.



Ransom Note: Big EthanolDelivers New Set of Demands to Enablers on Capitol Hill: Excise Credits, TaxCredits, and Guaranteed Markets – In Perpetuity.The Hill (10/11) reports, “Four main ethanol industry trade groups arefloating draft principles ahead of key White House and Capitol Hill decisionsabout extending federal assistance and market share for the gasoline additive.The groups — American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, RenewableFuels Association and the National Corn Growers Association — recentlydrew up the draft blueprint offering a long-term policy roadmap for theindustry to help in their discussions with the Obama administration and onCapitol Hill. The draft principles, obtained by The Hill, feature the need toextend a 45-cent volumetric excise tax credit for ethanol that expires at theend of the year “at the highest level possible” for another year. The ideawould then be to transition to a new four-year production tax creditessentially based on the greenhouse gases used to produce a gallon of fuel. Forexample, a facility that makes corn-based ethanol using biofuels would receivea higher tax credit than a corn-based ethanol plant using fossil fuels. Thosethat employ new technology to reduce energy and water use could also receive ahigher credit.



Only Thing Cooler Would’veBeen a Crossbow: Dem Senate Candidate in West Virginia Fires Rifle Round RightThru Cap-and-Raid Bill In Latest Ad. FOX News (10/11) reports, “West Virginia gov. Joe Manchin appears in anew television ad firing a gun, while telling viewers he will "take onWashington and this administration and get the federal government off our backsand out of our pockets." Manchin’s Republican opponent, John Raese, hasattacked Manchin as a sure "rubber stamp" for President Obama andWashington Democrats if elected to the U.S. Senate and the strategy may beworking, with the well known governor trailing in the polls. In the newlyreleased ad, Manchin tries to change that perception by promising to"repeal the bad parts of Obama care," using the term favored by conservativeRepublicans to describe Obama’s national health care law. The candidate alsosays he will "take dead aim at the cap and trade bill," while firinga rifle at a mock copy of the cap and trade bill. Manchin is a popular governorand had been considered the favorite in the special election to complete thelate Senator Robert Byrd’s term. However, Republican businessman John Raese hasspent his own money on tough political ads tying Manchin to the president,whose approval rate in the state is just 29 percent according to the latest FoxNews opinion dynamics poll. Click here towatch the ad.



Rent-Seekers Who Stand toBenefit Most From Carbon Criminalization in California Outspend Opponents ofA.B. 32 Nearly 2 to 1 – With Green Tech “Investors” Leading the Way.NY Times (10/11) reports, “At the start of the campaign forCalifornia’s Proposition 23, the ballot measure that would suspend the state’sglobal warming law, opponents darkly warned that the Texas oil companiesbacking the initiative would spend as much as $50 million to win the election. But with three weeks until Election Day, it is the No on 23 coalition ofenvironmentalists, investors and Silicon Valley technology companies that israking in the cash, taking in nearly twice as much money as the Yes on 23campaign. As of Monday, the No on 23 forces had raised $16.3 million to the Yescampaign’s $8.9 million, according to California Secretary of State records.Over the last two weeks, nearly $7 million has flowed into No campaign cofferswhile contributions to the Yes effort had fallen off strikingly. With thefailure of federal climate change legislation, considerable national attentionis focused on Proposition 23, which marks the first time a global warming lawhas been put before voters.



2-Minute Drill:Schwarzenegger’s Enviro Staff Working Hand in Glove with CARB to Skip theReviews, Ignore the Errors of Science, Produce Final Carbon Rules Before TermIs Up.Politico (10/11) reports, “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s environmentalteam is playing hurry-up offense to issue controversial climate rules beforehis term ends in January, even if it means wading into an Election Day thicketwith the oil industry. California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) is on track bythe end of the month to release more than 1,000 pages of proposed rules for howthe state should curb greenhouse gases at power plants and other largeindustrial plants. Jim Brulte, a former state House and Senate GOP minorityleader, told POLITICO that he’ll be on the lookout for CARB to skirtcontroversy with the proposed regulations to avoid angering different regionsof the state, especially where locals are reliant on fossil fuels. Brulte saidhe expected CARB to either avoid key details, or punt all together until afterNov. 2. "They don’t want the election to be swayed when people figure outwho gets hosed," he said. Derek Walker, director of the EnvironmentalDefense Fund’s California Climate Initiative, dismissed the idea that politicswill prompt CARB to water down its proposal, or delay its release. "My guessis that withholding until post-November 2 is not an option," Walker saidin an e-mail. "CARB has shown a willingness to [successfully] tackle othertough issues amidst the political heat."



Red October: Chinese OilGiant Makes Big Spash in South Texas, Announces $2.2 Billion JV with CHK on OilAssets in Eagle Ford Shale.Houston Chronicle (10/12) reports, “State-owned Chineseenergy giant CNOOC is buying a multibillion-dollar stake in 600,000 acres ofSouth Texas oil and gas fields, potentially testing the political waters forfurther expansion into U.S. energy reserves. With the announcement Monday itwould pay up to $2.2 billion for a one-third stake in Chesapeake Energy assets,CNOOC lays claim to a share of properties that eventually could produce up tohalf a million barrels a day of oil equivalent. It also may pick up someAmerican know-how about tapping the hard-to-get deposits trapped in dense shalerock formations, analysts said. As part of the deal, the largest purchase of aninterest in U.S. energy assets by a Chinese company, CNOOC has agreed to payabout $1.1 billion for a chunk of Chesapeake’s assets in the Eagle Ford, abroad oil and gas play that runs roughly from southwest of San Antonio to theMexican border. CNOOC also will provide up to $1.1 billion more to coverdrilling costs. " McClendon projected the sale would create as many as20,000 jobs, directly and indirectly, and, on CNOOC’s dime, allow the companyto increase its rig count in South Texas from 10 rigs to about 40 by the end of2012. Analysts have suggested that much of CNOOC’s interest is in gainingtechnical insight.



Newsflash: No Industry InAmerica Believes Wasting Energy Is Good for Business – Which Is Why Someof the Most Sustainable Firms in the US Are Among the Most Profitable. The Hill (10/12) reports, “An industry-backed group will unveil areport Tuesday that finds a range of industry sectors are increasinglycommitted to energy-saving “sustainability” practices. The Consumer EnergyAlliance report profiles efforts by the farm industry, energy companies,manufacturers and others to shrink their footprint. For instance, it notes thatDow Chemical has invested roughly $1 billion in sustainability programs andseen a $5 billion return; Nucor Steel has sharply cut mining waste by reusingscrap steel; while the homebuilding industry has boosted the percent of newhomes that garnered the Energy Star certification, reaching nearly 20 percentin 2009 compared to 12 percent the prior year. The report suggests a bargain:It calls on policymakers to embrace conservation while expanding access totraditional energy sources – including offshore oil-and-gas that’scurrently restricted. The group’s members include oil companies, utilities, anda range of manufacturing, transportation and other interests.



Iran, Iraq Boost Proven OilReserves by 9 and 24 Percent, Respectively – How’d They Do It? TheyDrilled Some New Test Wells – Imagine That.AFP(10/11) reports, “Iran boasted Monday its proven oil reserves have risen bynine percent to 150.31 billion barrels, a week after neighbouring Iraq claimedit had overtaken Tehran in terms of size of crude reserves. The increasedassessment was partly due to new discoveries, Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemitold a news conference, adding that the figure "will definitely goup" by the end of the Iranian year in March 2011. "Our oil reservesare today at 150.31 billion barrels," Mirkazemi said, compared with aprevious figure of 138.0 billion barrels. "Our calculations are stillongoing. This figure is from a six month report based on production informationand new discoveries," he added. On October 4, Iraq reported a sharp risein proven oil reserves that it said had catapulted it into third placeworldwide, behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. It announced a new figure of143.1 billion barrels of oil, representing a 24 percent increase over theprevious level of 115 billion barrels.


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